Creative Startups Announces New Women-Focused Accelerator in Saudi Arabia

Creative Startups, the leading global accelerator for creative industries entrepreneurs, announces open applications for their new program for women-led startups in the Western Region of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).

Creative Startups brings this program to the Kingdom in partnership with OceanX, a leading consultancy firm, and AlMashtal. The program is sponsored by the United States Consulate General in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia — as part of its efforts to bridge the gap between business communities from the United States and Saudi Arabia with a focus on women and youth entrepreneurial empowerment. The online program will take place in spring 2021 and is open to women-led teams and entrepreneurs building growth companies in the design, entertainment, fashion, film, food and beverage, and tourism in the Western Region. Participating entrepreneurs will be eligible to pitch for seed funding prizes ranging from SAR $3750 to SAR $18750. Applications are open now, and teams across Western Saudi Arabia are encouraged to apply here.

The Vision 2030 calls for greater investment and support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Today, SMEs contribute only 20 percent to Saudi Arabia’s GDP; the 2030 goal is 35 percent. As women lead only 4 percent of the nation’s new firms, increasing their success as business owners stand to make a dramatic contribution toward reaching Vision 2030. Given the Kingdom’s extraordinary growth in creative sectors including tourism, entertainment, design, and more, the creative industries offer an important point of entry for women-led businesses seeking to scale, reach new markets and grow.

Since launching their first accelerator in 2014, Creative Startups has grown to be recognized as a global creative economy leader. Today, their community is home to over 350 alumni companies on six continents as well as a global network of mentors and creative economy investors. All told, Creative Startups’ alumni have created almost 900 jobs, increased revenues by $75 million USD, and raised almost $300 million USD in venture financing.

Although this is the organization’s first acceleration program in Saudi Arabia, Creative Startups has led successful programs in the region for four years through their Kuwait-based accelerator, Savour, in partnership with venture capital firm Messilah Ventures. With 55 alumni companies across the MENA region and a broad network of mentors, they expect demand for the Saudi-based program to be high. “The Kingdom’s growth markets for products and services in entertainment, design, food, fashion, film, are all primed for extraordinary growth,” said Creative Startups CEO and Co-Founder Alice Loy. “Entrepreneurs will lead the charge to respond to this growth. Our job is to help them succeed,” she continued.

Creative Startups selected the Saudi-based consulting company OceanX as a regional partner given their strong track record supporting the Kingdom’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Founded in 2012, OceanX supports governmental and non-governmental organizations creating innovative solutions while also supporting entrepreneurs and startups in scaling their ventures. The AlMashtal Creative Space team, led by Noura Al-Saud and Alaa Ghanimah, brings a deep understanding of the regional and global creative economy. AlMashtal connects creatives with like-minded people, fostering conceptual thinking, stimulating the imagination, and opening new horizons. On their partnership, the team at AlMashtal said, “we have a bold vision for growing Saudi’s creative economy and we’re excited to partner to support women entrepreneurs in the Kingdom.”

Interested individuals are encouraged to submit their application online or attend the upcoming virtual info-session online on Monday, December 21st, at 7 pm KSA time. Registration for the online information session can be found at this link.

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